Climate change is not gender neutral. As the climate crisis intensifies, it is evident that women and girls disproportionately bear the brunt of its impact. In developing countries, women are overrepresented in the informal sector and have greater responsibility for subsistence activities, leaving them more vulnerable to climate-related shocks. Lower access to finance and education further restricts their ability to prepare for and respond to these shocks. Finally, women and girls are also more exposed to gender-based violence (GBV) in the aftermath of climate-risk events.
Convergence’s latest Data Brief explores how blended finance has addressed the gender-climate change nexus to date, and presents insights drawn from interviews conducted with key stakeholders. The Convergence database has recorded 63 blended transactions focusing on SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and one or more of the following SDGs: 7 (Clean Energy), 11 (Sustainable Cities), 12 (Responsible Consumption), 13 (Climate Action), 14 (Life Below Water) or 15 (Life on Land). This represents aggregate financing of USD 6 billion. To date, blended finance transactions targeting gender and climate change have focused mostly on off-grid and renewable energy (33% of transactions) and agriculture finance / sustainable agriculture (19%).
Here are some key takeaways from the Brief:
Funds and companies are the most frequent blended structures in gender and climate change: Mirroring the overall blended finance market, funds were the blended structure of choice in nearly half (46%) of transactions targeting gender and climate change, while companies were more prominent than in the broader market (25% vs 17%). Meanwhile, projects have been less prominent (16%), and bonds have played a negligible role.
Climate and renewable energy-focused institutions have incorporated gender-lens strategies into their investment processes: Institutions focused on climate change and renewable energy like Green Climate Fund (6 concessional commitments in the gender-climate nexus) and Shell Foundation (6) have prioritized gender considerations in their investment processes. Overall, development agencies and multi-donor funds have provided 46% of concessional capital commitments in the gender-climate nexus, led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (20 concessional commitments).
Women appear more as end beneficiaries rather than direct beneficiaries in blended finance transactions for gender and climate change: Women were the direct beneficiaries of 6% of transactions in the gender-climate change nexus. Individuals are rarely the direct beneficiaries of blended finance transactions. What occurs more often (in 43% of gender-climate transactions) is that the direct beneficiaries are micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) that may then serve or cater to women in a certain capacity.
New, longer-term financing approaches are needed: While there is more understanding around the business case for gender and climate change, difficulties remain in terms of designing and implementing commercial projects in the space. Donors and the private sector must explore new, longer-term financing approaches, given that changes in climate and in cultural norms for gender are longer-term, generational processes that cannot be adequately measured on shorter-term time horizons, or adequately captured in traditional reporting processes.
In this brief, Convergence also argues that early-stage grant support in the form of design funding can aid in market acceleration, potentially increasing the size and scale of projects that come to light within the gender and climate change nexus.
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